ELMIRA, N.Y. (WBNG Binghamton) -- Elmira Correctional Facility has been locked down since approximately 1:30 pm on Tuesday, January 29, following a rash of 19 reportable incidents in the first 24 days of the month.
According to a news release:
This unusually high number of incidents included inmate-on-inmate assaults as well as inmates found to be in possession of weapons and other contraband.
The New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, the union representing correction officers and sergeants who work at Elmira, had written to the superintendent on January 24 to request the lock down for the safety of its members.
This is the second time in four months that Elmira Correctional Facility has been locked down, and this latest incident comes just one week after Governor Cuomo proposed closing two more correctional facilities as part of his 2013-2014 Executive Budget.
Since 2009, 11 state correctional facilities have been closed and more than 2,000 correction officer position have been lost due to budget cutbacks. The latest executive budget proposal includes the shuttering of two facilities, Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan and Beacon Correctional Facility in the lower Hudson Valley, which will displace an additional 160 NYSCOPBA members.
The closures and cuts have also made the system more dangerous, as correction officers are more likely to be assaulted by an inmate now than in years past. By placing more inmates into fewer locations, the state will drive up the inmate to officer ratio and increase the risk of violent incidents inside correctional facilities. Coupled with the state’s consistent inability to sufficiently staff state facilities, the proposals introduced by the Governor will increase the level of danger for correction officers.
During a lock down, the entire facility is “frisked” or searched, in order to uncover weapons and other contraband and to restore order to the facility. In this current lock down, eight weapons have been found on inmates themselves – an unusually high number in a lock down situation. A large number of weapons have also been found in common areas of the facility.